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Scosso mi il petto, e poi n'uscendo poco
GIOVANE piano, e semplicette amante
Farò divoto; io certo a prove tante
De pensieri leggiadri, accorto, e buono;
E di cetra sonora, e delle Muse:
ON HIS BEING ARRIVED TO THE AGE OF 23.
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year! My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom show'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear, That some more timely-happy spirits endu❜th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of HeaAll is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY,
CAPTAIN, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY,
LADY! that in the prime of earliest youth
Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure!
TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY 1.
DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent2.
The daughter of Sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council to King James He died in an advanced age; and Milton attributes his death to the breaking of the Parliament: and it is true that the Parliament was dissolved the 10th of March, 1628-9, and he died on the 14th of the same month.
2 Isocrates, the orator. The victory was gained by Philip of Macedon over the Athenians.
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.
A BOOK was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon3, And woven close, both matter, form and style; The subject new: it walk'd the Town awhile, Numbering good intellects; now seldom por❜d on. Cries the stall-reader, Bless us! what a word on A title-page is this! and some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to MileEnd Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp +? Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek, [gasp. That would have made Quintilian stare and
Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek',
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge, and king Edward, Greek.
2 This was one of Milton's books, published in consequence of his separation from his first wife. Tetrachordon signifies expositions on the four chief places in Scripture which mention marriage or nullities in marriage.
+ Milton is here collecting, from his hatred to the Scots, what he thinks Scottish names of an ill sound. Colkitto and Macdonnel, are one and the same person; a brave officer on the royal side, an Irishman of the Antrim family, who served under Montrose. The Macdonalds of that family are styled, by way of distinction, Mac Collcittok, i. e. descendants of lame Colin. Galasp, or George Gillespie, was a Scottish writer against the Independents, and one of the members of the Assembly of Divines.
5 The first professor of the Greek tongue in the university of Cambridge, and afterwards made one of the tutors to Edward VI.
ON THE SAME.
I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs
When straight a barbarous noise environs me Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs: As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogs Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee. But this is got by casting pearl to hogs ; That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free. Licence they mean when they cry Liberty; For who loves this, must first be wise and good; But from that mark how far they rove we see, For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.
TO MR. H. LAWES ON THE PUBLISHING OF HIS AIRS.
HARRY! whose tuneful and well-measured song